Arcade Fire Play SNL 2013

Arcade Fire’s James Murphy-produced double LP Reflektor is just one month away, and tonight the band returned to SNL for their first television appearance (and first live gig outside of those secret Salsathèque shows) in support of the album. Before performing the monstrous new single “Reflektor” with Colin Stetson and Owen Pallett, they appeared in a game show sketch called “New Cast Member Or Arcade Fire?” where host Tina Fey had to distinguish band members from new cast members. (Tina on Win Butler “On the left we got some kind of a hipster Paul Bunyan? Could be a Civil War reenactor, or like a Serbian basketball player.”) For their second song, Arcade Fire debuted “Afterlife.” UPDATE: Watch it all below.

New Cast Member Or Arcade Fire?



A half-hour Arcade Fire concert special called Here Comes The Night Time airs after tonight’s SNL premiere at 1AM EST on NBC. (UPDATE: The special featured the debuts of “Here Comes The Night Time,” “We Exist,” and “Normal Person.” James Franco, Rainn Wilson, Bono, Ben Stiller, Michael Cera, Bill Hader, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Schwartzman, Eric Wareheim, and Aziz Ansari made cameos. You can watch the full concert special here.)

Reflektor is out 10/29 via Merge.

Comments (45)
  1. First! I was incredibly impressed with them tonight. Tonight reminded me of the SNL musical zeitgeist when Radiohead performed tracks from Kid A and you just knew something special was in the air. Arcade Fire’s new album is probably alien to their other work and judging from tonight’s performances ( and after special performance which was great) then I have to say it is. Truly stellar to see a band doing what they do and how they want to do it. Props.

  2. Loved LOVED the new songs. Loved Regine’s sweet robot dance moves. Loved that they’re doing whatever the hell they want to do (though my gut feeling is that we’ll look back on it and say ‘wut?’). Loved the confused reactions of non-fans on twitter – very entertaining. I highly recommend checking them out. So excited for the new album.

  3. Agree that their performance was great, but the sound on the SNL sound stage was awful. Everything sounded muffled. Still love AF and oddly enjoyed their weird concert film tv special afterward

    • I think SNL always amplifys every bands shortcomings because of the way their sound is set up, so great bands sometimes sound not so great. They’ve been booking some great musical guests so one hopes they’ll patch up their sound.

    • Their sound has always been awful. I remember when TV on the Radio played there, and it was maybe one of the worst sounding things I’ve heard–which is a bummer because they are great. I think there’s some union rules or something that prevents band’s normal sound crew from working.

  4. I’m a huge Arcade Fire fan, I saw them at Madison Square Garden in 2010 and I still look back on it as one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. But for some reason, I cannot get into their new songs at all. I don’t know, maybe I just have to wait to hear the actual album, maybe I have to let the songs grow on me but I remember when The Suburbs came out and I just instantly connected with it. This is something much different and it’s good that they’re doing something different but it’s just not doing it for me at the moment.

    • I do agree its a complete change of style for them (and adjustment for us). Caribbean influences, dance-punk? I thought the same and was appalled at the notion back when details of Reflektor began to emerge. But the good thing is that it’s not so far removed from what say David Bowie was doing with “Let’s Dance” or Talking Heads stuff. I think this will be their reinventing the wheel: a willfully obtuse record like Kid A and Acthung Baby and hard to digest at first. For proof look at the negative comments on the Reflektor video here on the gum. But, I think the emotion behind the songs are still connectable even though the sonic backdrop is changed.
      David Fricke of Rolling Stone already awarded the album 4.5 stars. I think we’re all in for a real treat regardless of their stylistic change. The second half of the double album is said to be more emotionally stirring, with more of that familiar AF sound.I hated Loveless when I first heard it and now recognize its genius and relevance, but instantly loved Kid A. Different strokes I guess. Sorry for the epic reply. Just really excited about this album :) Hope it grows on you

  5. This is one of those nights (aside from Pats + Bruins games) that I really regret not shelling out for cable. Hulu, don’t fail me now!

  6. I have no desire to see “Reflektor” live on TV or anywhere else. Is “Afterlife” any better?!

  7. Almost 40 years of hosting musicians and SNL makes them sound uniformly thin and weak.

  8. upload it already ugh

  9. they were amazing tonite-absolutely amazing-could regine be anymore cool–the nbc network punched our broken dvr and my kids and I had an x-tra hour of play-regine is supurb-and arcade fire is on their computers so my kids can get concert tickets–i’m still watching–never seen anything like them since david bowie played a starman.

  10. I haven’t been able to find the 30 minute special yet but seeing Reflektor played live deepened my strong positive feeling for it and I was blown away by Afterlife. I love the b-b-bongos

  11. The after special felt like I was watching something surreal and formerly impossible to be shown on TV, even if at 1am on a Saturday night. I was expecting them to just keep running live from the SNL stage, but it was a very well-packaged half hour with some grinning sub-plots and cameos.

    • Actually, the special felt like that time that MTV decided they would turn over the reigns to what was being aired to the cast Human Giant for 24 hours, and they invited the then-not-as-huge the National, Tegan and Sara, Mastodon on to play live. Needless to say, that never happened again, so I’m glad I lost a half hour of sleep last night to enjoy it as it happened.

  12. For all those that missed it last night (like me) or who want to re-re-re-re-re-watch it: Here Comes the Night Time.

  13. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • “They heard me singing and they told me to stop,
      ‘Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock.’”

      Not saying that she is aware of criticism, but just sayin’ — she doesn’t care!

      • Clearly she doesn’t care. I get that about her and the entire band (the fact that they do their own thing without care is about all that I can get into about them). But she certainly wouldn’t have to start punching a clock if she just stopped singing. She’s got other stuff to do in the band…. ya know!? lol

        • Wrong. Dead wrong. Cerebus you can go back to hell and die. Regine SHOULD sing, but only the record. She should never sing live.

          • I can go to hell and die because of an opinion about a band? First of all, please go take your meds. Next, go fuck yourself with large sharp objects. Asshole.

            And since you seem to be too fucking stupid to understand simple concepts, it’s fucking CEREBUS, not CERBERUS. You fuckwit.

          • Ok. Good points, taken.

        • sure she cares. look how hard she is concentrating during that first verse.

          I suspect the band is using compressors that eff things up for them but that have to be sued b/c they cannot sing.

  14. Love the songs themselves, but I can’t help but feel like they’ve never written a chorus as banal as “Can we work it out? / Scream and shout.” Not doubting that the catchiness will convince me otherwise. We’ll see how it turns out on record.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • I didn’t say it was ironic. I said it was banal, which means lacking in originality. Use a dictionary. As I’m sure you know (unless you live under a rock), “scream and shout” and “work it out” are oft-used phrases in pop music. Funeral is also my favorite album of all time, so no need to be so dismissive.

  15. Sorry, me no like. I already lived through the ’80′s. It’s schlocky////

  16. I’m a “liker”, rather than “lover” of Arcade Fire. I’ve got 2 of their albums. I WANT to love them so bad. But performances like this make me go, “man, I just don’t know”. Maybe the sound was off, maybe they were rusty, but it just didn’t click. Regine’s whole mirror thing was really goofy and awkward (and not cool in a weird way). When I saw them live I felt the same way. It just didn’t resonate for me, there wasn’t that intangible charisma, and I really like the song. I thought the aftershow special was pretty neat, and some of the songs seemed to have an explosiveness that is lacking in music these days.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  17. turns out the first track off that new Darkside album fits eerily well with that SNL Cast/Arcade Fire GIF above. Creepy.

  18. Does anyone else think that background synth sound in “Afterlife” is very reminiscent of the effect used in Radiohead’s “Where I End and You Begin” from Hail to the Thief? Especially 1:00+ Not exactly the same, but man is it close.

  19. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Seriously? You’re saying Win has a terrible voice based on one SNL appearance? Have you ever watched a non SNL video of him singing live? I’ve always loved them live and feel they do the records justice. I can understand people griping about Regine’s voice (though it’s never bothered me), but Win can deliver the goods. Also what is this, the second time these songs have been played live? Give them a break, I’m sure his timing will get better in regard to inflection and whatnot in the future. Thank you for your ignorant comment though, it made me go back and listen to older Arcade Fire live videos

  20. You know what I bet: the violin player with the cool skrillex hair: she’s probably got a great voice but they’d [win and regine, the non-singers in the band] never let her sing on a record other than backup.

  21. oooo I am so sorry I misread, IDIOT! wow, ending sentences with IDIOT is really cathartic, IDIOT! next time i’ll read more closely, IDIOT! i disagree with your interpretation of the chorus anyways, IDIOT!

  22. AC and anything else are apples and oranges. If you you’re going to choose just one AC live video, this is what I would choose (at least for the final 3 minutes of it):

  23. I can see the comparison. I also love the percussion, it’s great seeing Panda back on drums

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